North Viet Nam: The Trials of Ho

For his "contributions to the struggle against imperialism," Moscow recently conferred the Order of Lenin on Ho Chi Minh. Last week Ho said no.

He asked for a delay "until the day when our people have driven off the U.S. imperialist aggressors and completely liberated our fatherland." Since that day does not seem imminent, even to North Viet Nam's intransigent leaders, Ho must wonder, at 77 and in none-too-vigorous health, whether he will ever wear Moscow's medal.

What will happen when Ho goes? For two decades his personality has provided the cement for one of the most stable Communist regimes in...

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